Bruins

Bruins' start finishes Flyers

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Bruins' start finishes Flyers

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Brian Boucher thought he set the tone for Game 3.

The Philadelphia Flyers goaltender made one of the best saves of the series just 25 seconds in, as the Bruins came buzzing into the offensive zone after the opening faceoff.

Patrice Bergeron sent a hard, cross-ice pass from the right point down to Brad Marchand at the left post for what should have been a tap-in type of goal. But Boucher extended his right leg in a flash, and robbed Marchand with a beautiful pad save.

But before anyone could get the idea that it was going to be that type of night for the Bruins, Marchand sent a backhand pass to the high slot, where Zdeno Chara let go a one-timer that sniped the top-right corner and gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds in.

Thirty-three seconds later, David Krejci added another when he finished a picture-perfect, give-and-go cycle that started from the right half-wall.

That's the kind of night it was going to be.

You always want to have a good start, especially at home, but to score in the first two or three shifts of the game, its always huge, said Chara after the Bruins 5-1 Game 3 win over the Flyers Wednesday night at the TD Garden. I thought that gave us really good momentum.

That was about as good a start as you can ask for, especially on home ice, said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. You dont know that youre going to get that. It doesnt always work out that way. But it definitely helped. It certainly helped from my perspective in goal. Thats for sure.

From Philadelphias perspective, the first 1:03 was, well, as Flyers coach Peter Laviolette put it, unacceptable.

Obviously the start was not good for us, said Laviolette. Not the way we needed to start. You give up two goals in the first two minutes of the game . . . its frightening.

Coming into their building, we knew they would come out strong, said Flyers forward Danny Briere. That was the game right there. We didnt do a good job in the first minute of play to keep them to the outside. Too many breakdowns. We tried, after that, but it's a tough start to spot them two goals to start a game like that.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game that his team was unusually quiet during Wednesdays morning skate, which made him question what kind of effort he was going to get from his time.

The coaches were basically trying to figure out whether it was guys just being really focused, or the other part of it, whether we werent as sharp as we had been," said Julien.

But I think they answered that question pretty quickly.

Charas statement couldnt have been louder with his first goal of the playoffs.

Its great to see him get that offense going, because he has that potential, hes got an amazing shot, said Thomas. Ask the opposing goalies that are facing it. Its no fun to see that guy winding up on you. He gets himself in the right spots, and starts getting those goals, it just makes it easier on the whole team.

Chara added his second goal of the game with 1:22 left in regulation. It was another blast of a slap shot, this time from the left point, that went top shelf. It gave the Bruins their first power-play goal of the postseason, and their fifth and final goal of Game 3.

For me, personally, I really try to focus on our defensive game, be strong throughout the games, said Chara. Im not really worried about the points. Im just counting wins, and thats the way were looking at it in the room.

Its nice to score. Theres no question about that. But I think we all know that its all about wins.

And as long as Charas setting the tone like he did on Wednesday night, theyll certainly be a few more of those.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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